U.S. Rep. Pete
Visclosky, D-1st, and the House Appropriations Committee voted on Tuesday to
approve the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Transportation, Housing and Urban
Development, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act.
includes $350 million for the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety
Improvements Program, an amount $95 million more than the FY 2019 funding
level and $20 million more than the level proposed in the President’s Fiscal
Year 2020 Budget Request.
Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvement program supports a variety of
types of projects, including highway-grade crossing improvements and rail
congestion reduction projects,” according to a statement released by
In addition, the
report accompanying this legislation includes language expressing concern
over the increase in the prevalence of railroad crossings blocked by trains
and the potential impacts of this to communities and safety. The report
accordingly directs the Federal Railroad Administration to work with state
and local agencies, law enforcement, railroads, and others to examine this
problem, collect data, identify trends, and develop recommendations to
reduce the number and frequency of blocked railroad crossing occurrences.
measure includes $2.3 billion for the Capital Investment Grant program under
the Federal Transit Administration, an amount $800 million more than the
level proposed in the President’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Request. The
Capital Investment Grant program provides essential support for investments
in transit projects across the country, including the South Shore commuter
in Northwest Indiana.
The measure is now
referred to the full U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.
“I am thankful that
the House Appropriations Committee has taken action to recognize the
perilous danger of blocked railroad crossings in communities across our
nation,” Visclosky said. “This issue is of the utmost importance to
Northwest Indiana communities with numerous railroad crossings, and I will
continue to work to press the Administration to positively and actively
address this issue in Northwest Indiana and across our country. I remain
committed to continuing to do everything possible to support investments in
our transportation infrastructure, including efforts to improve the safety
and efficiency of railroad crossings and the expansion and recapitalization
of the South Shore Rail Line.”